People power bid to cut speed limit and improve road safety in Waterlees Village in Wisbech

The community in Waterlees Village in Wisbech are banding together to get a 20mph zone introduced across the ward.
The community in Waterlees Village in Wisbech are banding together to get a 20mph zone introduced across the ward.

The community has come together to launch a funding bid to introduce a 20mph speed limit to improve safety, cut accidents and air pollution in the Waterlees area of Wisbech.

Councillors, businesses and individuals have pledged cash from their own pockets for the minor highways improvement bid which requires at least a 10 per cent contribution from the applicants to gain county council funding.

A report supporting the application, which has been submitted by Chris Stevens, Oasis Centre and Trust manager, on behalf of the Waterless Forum Sub Committee, says the aim is to introduce a 20mph speed limit zone across the whole Waterless Village Ward.

The bid, which it is estimated will cost up to £10,000, will see 20mph signs introduced to the eight entrance roads leading to Waterlees Village, and aims to recycle at least five signs currently used for a 20mph zone on Edinburgh Drive.

The report explains the whole community has backed the application, which has been two years in the making, with parents and other residents being joined by businesses and councillors in making the call for the reduced speed limit.

It says the reduction in speeding will improve road safety, benefit the general welfare of the community, make it safer for the area’s 1,500 children, cut CO2 emissions and reduce noise and vibrations.

The report also says it will help older and less able residents feel safer using footpaths and crossing roads.

Among those pledging financial support are the managing director of English Brothers Timber Merchants; Wisbech Voices Community Group; county councillor for the area Steve Tierney; district councillors Virginia and Mike Bucknor and residents, who include Alan and Brenda Lay.

In total they have promised £1,000 towards the cost of the scheme, which the report says has been top of the agenda for residents since at least 2009, with two previous bids rejected by Wisbech Town Council.

The report says over 500 children attend the Orchards primary school, many walking to school unaccompanied.

The age of properties in the area means they do not have off-road parking, so residents have to park on the road, which blocks the vision of both drivers and pedestrians.

A map included with the proposal highlights where the eight 20mph signs would be located and shows previous schemes introduced to help cut speeding.

But the report says speeding is still a major problem, as highlighted by the findings of regular SpeedWatch checks.

It adds: “We believe our proposal is considered to be cost-effective in highlighting to the good drivers the need for reducing speed and will support police efforts to encourage safer driving in this small but heavily populated area.

“We recognise you cannot legislate for criminals and drunken drivers, etc, but the law-abiding drivers, the majority, will reduce their speed to 20mph, which will bring down the mean speed.”